2021 draft picks that could replace Takk McKinley


With the Atlanta Falcons announcing that they are not going to pick up Takk McKinley’s fifth-year contract, where do they go next?

Last offseason, Takk McKinley made news when he announced via twitter that he would shave off his dreads if he didn’t have at least 10 sacks. As we know now, he did not come close to that number and I am pretty sure he still has his signature hairstyle.

While most people could care less about his hair, what they have cared about is his lack of results. In three years on the field, he has had a lot of QB pressures, a few sacks, and very little tackles. The tackles shouldn’t bother anyone but his inability to finish should.

If Vic Beasley was a disappointment, then Takk McKinley is a failure. He has been worse in every metric than Beasley was and not picking up his option was the right move.

The former first-round pick has made just 21 starts in three years. That is less than stellar. Sure, you can blame head coach Dan Quinn, but at some point, the player themselves have to be held accountable.

We could also go back and redraft the 2017 draft and the Falcons would select T.J. Watt, but that would get us nowhere and solve no issues now. (Also, miss me with the “Watt isn’t designed for our defense” nonsense)

Instead of playing “what if” let’s look ahead at possibilities and the direction that the Atlanta Falcons can go in the 2021 NFL draft to replace Takk McKinley.

There are four pass rushers in the 2021 draft class that stand out above the rest heading into the 2020 season. Obviously, things can change a lot between now and then, but these are four players that the Atlanta Falcons should be watching as replacements for Takk McKinley.

Gregory Rousseau – University of Miami (FL)

The 6’6 260-pound edge rusher has been turning heads since he arrived in Coral Gables. While the Hurricanes have not had a lot of success on the field, Rousseau has made a name for himself. He will have a lot of eyes on him in 2020 and has a chance to make a lot of money for himself.

If Miami can win more games in 2020, he will be given a lot of credit for a defense that has not lived up to expectations.

His 2019 year at Miami saw him log 19.5 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks.

LaBryan Ray – Alabama

LaBryan Ray is a rare fourth year Alabama player, but take nothing away from him, he can ball. Injuries in 2019 kept him off the field and forced him to come back for another year in 2020.

During his three years in Tuscaloosa, he has logged 10 tackles for loss and just 4.5 sacks, but his 2020 season will be a break out one and he will help lead the Tide back to the College Football Playoff for the sixth time in seven years.

Joe Tryon – Washington

The true rising junior had an outstanding junior year for the Huskies in which he logged 12.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks. While Falcons fans seem to prefer players from the SEC, he is one that will be a steal out of the Pac-12.

At 6’5 and 260 pounds, he has the ideal size and is bigger than both Takk McKinley and Vic Beasley. He is one that you should take time to watch on Saturdays this fall.

Quincy Roche – Temple

He is the smallest of the college guys on this list, but don’t let that or where he played collegiately fool you.

He was recruited to Temple by current Panthers head coach Matt Rhule, who had a great eye for defensive talent in college.

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Over his first three years at Temple, he had 39.5 tackles for loss and 26 sacks. He exploded his junior year where he accounted for 19 TFL’s and 13 sacks. He seems to have found what makes him special and is using it to exploit his opponents.